Brexit: How, Why and What Next? – Francis Turner

Brexit: How, Why and What Next? – Francis Turner

As the media all over the world is telling us, the UK voted fairly convincingly to leave the EU. With a turnout of 72% (higher than recent general elections) the final result was 51.9% leave and 48.1% remain. Most of the media and pretty much all politician everywhere, not to mention endless commenters on social media are saying something along the lines of “How could you do this to us?” and that is generally followed up by a sneer or two – it was the fault of old people, the working class, the stupid low information voters etc. Not to mention suggestions and claims that the Leave people were driven by racism.

Many of these people appear to be imitating the communist party leadership in the German Democratic Republic that Bertold Brecht mocked in his poem Die Lösung (The Solution). In fact you can easily update that poem to today by changing just a few words:

Nach dem Referendum des 23. Juni
Ließ der Sekretär des Schriftstellerverbands
In der Downingstraße Flugblätter verteilen
Auf denen zu lesen war, daß das Volk
Das Vertrauen der Regierung verscherzt habe
Und es nur durch verdoppelte Arbeit
zurückerobern könne. Wäre es da
Nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung
Löste das Volk auf und
Wählte ein anderes?
After the referendum of the 23rd of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in Downing Street
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

That attitude and the disconnect that it illustrates is probably why the cognoscenti are so shocked. I was back in the UK at the start of June and from what I saw then I changed my mind and went from hoping (without much faith) that Leave would win to expecting that it would – or that if it didn’t the margin to remain would be razor thin. In either case nothing like what conventional wisdom was predicting. It wasn’t that hard to figure out either, all you had to do was talk to people who didn’t live in London and didn’t read the Grauniad. They were heavily in the leave camp. From shop assistants and porters to academics in hard sciences the muttering was clear: the EU has been a disaster and all the claims that we can reform it have failed. Hence, at some point, you just have to quit.


A tale of two cultures

The UK has developed in very different ways to continental Europe, and within the UK the traditional attitudes to many many things are totally different to those across the English Channel. The usual point made is about the UK having common law whereas continental Europe being used to the Napoleaonic Code, but this is far from the only difference.

The UK and its former colonies (including 13 revolting former colonies 🙂 ) are amongst the most generous when it comes to charitable giving and volunteering. The UK’s Charities Aid Foundation has created a “World Giving Index” for the last 6 years and the UK sits there at around #6 or so with the majority of the countries above it being former colonies. With the exception of the Dutch (who, curiously, also want a referendum about remaining in the EU) the rest of Europe is a long way down the list. In monetary terms some 75% of the UK population gives to charity every year whereas, again with the exception of the Dutch, everyone else is under 60% (and most are under 50%). Continental Europe on the other hand believes that the state should provide. The things that are not state funded in the UK include the coastal lifeboats (mostly provided by the RNLI) and light houses (Trinity House). For a nation which depends on maritime commerce to survive this might seem surprising but these are far from the only such things. Historically the UK was a leader in Friendly Societies, Cooperatives, Mutual Insurance and so on and in general the state’s aid (or possibly interference) in matters has been limited. Indeed until the proportion of government spending as part of GDP in the UK is generally lower than most EU nations, despite the fact that the UK has the (roughly) joint largest military and an almost fully nationalized and tax funded health service.

The point is that the traditional UK attitude was for self-organization to fix problems and not to expect the government to do it or organize it. To some extent this has been eroded as the state has muscled in, but particularly in the countryside, the traditions still hold. Moreover there is a very strong case to be made the this tradition of lighter government involvement, particularly since the 1980s privatizations under Mrs Thatcher, has helped the UK grow in ways that the rest of Western Europe hasn’t. This economic health mean that the UK has become a place other people want to live in.


One of the major arguments of the campaign was about immigration. For the most part the Remain side were quite happy with the levels of immigration while the Leave side thought it was far too high. This does not mean, in any way, that the Leave side wanted to kick out all the (recent) immigrants. There are, perhaps, a few who feel that way but I suspect they are in no greater in number than the number of people who think the UK should simply have completely open borders and let anyone in that wants to come.

The UK is a small country. It has roughly same population as France compressed into a third the space and a significant proportion of the space is Northern Scotland which is very sparsely populated. Not only that but the UK has far lower unemployment rates (and higher labour participation rates) than most (all?) of Europe as well as a fairly generous welfare state. The result is that lots and lots of people want to live and work in the UK. This has been true for a while – the number of French citizens in London make it (IIRC) the 5th largest French city by population of French citizens, somewhere about the size of Nice – but the extension eastwards of the EU to Romania and Bulgaria, as well as the general influx of non European migrants into the EU, has lead to a large increase in recent immigrants. It is worth noting that non EU migrants seem to like the UK to such an extent that there is a large camp of them in Northern France who could go to any other part of the mainland of Europe but want to come to the UK instead. Why might that be?

Most people in the UK are fine with migrants up to a point and, while there have been issues with certain communities (Rochdale, Bradford…), people take pride in the developments of their immigrants such as the fact that Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in Birmingham. Going to a kebab shop or a curryhouse after a night out drinking is part of life in Britain. British people have had Indians, West Indians, Africans and so on as neighbours for decades. They’ve had Polish builders, Hungarian plumbers and Czech nannies for a good decade as well as numerous Italian and French (and Indian and Chinese) restaurants and so on for longer. And, in general, they are fine with continued immigration. What they want, however, is immigration at a rate of a few tens of thousands a year whereas what the last few years have shown is that immigration rates are ten times that (anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 depending on statistics).

Immigration at a rate of 0.5% to 1% of the existing population (a population which is having babies and growing anyway) puts a huge strain on jobs, housing as well as health and education services. It isn’t particularly racist to wonder why one’s own children or friends/relatives are unable to find affordable housing when the population is growing faster than the housing stock, neither is it racist to wonder why doctor’s appointments and school places (in schools that are actual permanent buildings) are hard to come by.

In fact I would say that the sneering dismissal that came when people dared to mention those sorts of very practical issues was a major incentive for people to vote leave. When that is combined with the prospect of visa free travel for Turkey and the way that the government came over all shifty when it came to actual immigrant numbers it is hardly a surprise that people didn’t vote for a position that had no prospect of slowing the flow.

Project Fear vs Project Hope

The remain campaign, when they weren’t sneering, were doing their best to scare voters. It seemed every other day some group or other predicted doom and destruction if the UK voted leave. In many cases the gloom was so overwrought that it was a joke. The list of prognostications and prognosticators was endless and many were silly. Why would a hit show like Game of Thrones no longer be filmed in the UK if certain EU film subsidies and tax breaks were not offered? And if that were the case who, beyond a few fragile thespians, would actually care? Why (and indeed how) would the EU immediately block all trade to the UK? Why would British scientists no longer have any research funding? Why would it be impossible to collaborate with European companies and universities? And so on. Moreover why would the average voter believe these people when they were the same ones who came up with almost the same arguments to try and get the UK to join the Euro? The remain campaign offered no positive reason to stay in the EU, just one dire threat after another about the dangers of leaving. Oddly they seemed surprised at the enthusiasm gap that opened up in opinion polls that showed that voters for the Leave side were massively more enthusiastic than those on the remain side.

By contrast, however, the Leave campaign were optimistic and, critically I think, funny. The Leave campaign leaders, particularly Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, were generally witty and all of them managed to think fast enough on their feet to outwit their hostile interviewers (and yes, almost 100% of the interviews were hostile). After a while the fact that Vote Leave’s claims figures were also a bit iffy didn’t matter, everyone with a brain could see that the Remain figures were extracted from various bovine anal orifices, so the fact that Leave played slightly loose with the truth was ignored.

American readers may think this bears a resemblance to the Trump campaign and I suspect that this is no accident. The people running Vote Leave are not idiots and they are quite capable at looking at what works in other countries and replicating it. Just as Trump talks about making America great again, so too the Leave speakers were talking about the vibrant historical past of the UK and its rosy future when not under the boot of the EU. They were vague – they had to be, in part because they don’t agree on the post Brexit future – but they were all optimistic.

In the end it was a choice between a side that failed to acknowledge any problems with the way things are today and threatened the apocalypse if things went wrong and a side that said that “yes things aren’t so great now but we can fix them if we’re free to do our own thing”. On the whole message about freedom to choose won.

What next?

In the short term panic. Some of that panic may be justified for the people panicking. The EU bureaucracy as a whole can quite justifiably be in a huge funk because their jobs, their gravy train and their golden retirements are all on the line. In most cases however the panic is not at all justified. The UK will not abruptly leave the EU tomorrow. Even if the UK were to make an official leave request under article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon there are two years before an actual exit must occur. Until the UK actually leaves it will still be paying Brussels large sums of money and getting some of that back in various subsidies and grants. Likewise no one will be forced to move – neither expat Brits abroad nor EU citizens in the UK. I anticipate that things will settle down in a few days as the majority of the world decides that this is not in fact the end of times and then things will be very very similar to the way they were last month.

In the medium term it will all depend on the treaty. We have almost no idea what a real treaty will look like because almost everyone who would be required to negotiate that treaty has been telling the UK that the world will end. However when they stop having a tantrum and start getting serious the likelihood is that there will be some sort of free trade agreement and a more restrictive set of rules for residency. We may see more British retirees staying in the UK instead of retiring in the sun, we will probably see rather fewer Eastern Europeans living in the UK. There may be inflation in the UK as prices of imports rise and quite possibly there will be a related export boom as prices of UK products become more attractive to the rest of the world. Likewise the UK may see a tourism boom. Beyond that probably not too much. Trade will continue and the UK will – after some adjustments – almost certainly continue to grow faster than the EU. The one thing I am pretty damn certain of is that the City of London will remain the primary market for European timezones. Some trading will undoubtedly move to Dublin and Frankfurt but I doubt it will be as much as the naysayers of Vote Remain predicted. Just as New York remains a major market in the US, despite tax laws that seem designed to induce businesses to flee and just as Silicon Valley remains the hub of VC funded IT despite all sorts of issues from tax to drought the infrastructure is so embedded in the UK that it can’t move. Indeed if the UK government is smart it will end up attracting more business by providing reductions in effective corporation tax and the like.

In the longer term it’s all going to depend on the stability of the EU and the policies of the UK government. All of which are the result of the bahaviour and actions of politicians, irrational beings at the best of times.

Larger Political Implications

The big question that everyone is asking is about the future of the EU. As someone who has wanted to the see the EU collapse for at least a decade I’m on the side of hoping that it does collapse, but I suspect that EU politics are such that it won’t die as soon as I hope. More likely we will see votes to leave by, at least, the more economically vibrant non Euro members (Denmark and Sweden) and some rather extreme politicians becoming more mainstream all across the continent. Eventually the EU will die because there is no desire amongst the populace at large for “ever closer union” and the Euro is a currency that will be studied by future economists as an example of what not to do. However its death throes are likely to be both protracted and messy.

Assuming the UK negotiates a reasonable free trade agreement and the UK government continues to be run by politicians with clue (yes those are fairly major assumptions) then the UK could well end up being the anchor to a revitalized EFTA that consists of itself plus most of the Nordic nations, plus Switzerland and acts as a default exit for those Eastern European nations that bought into the EU mostly to protect themselves from a resurgent Russia. Again assuming smart UK politicians, this new EFTA could well end up including other unaffiliated developed economies such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand as well as, say, India, Singapore and Malaysia. Played properly it will form the basis of a global FTA as it will end up merging with NAFTA and nurturing an African FTA. Some of this is certainly optimistic, but, although the economies of most African nations are tiny, they are growing faster than any other part of the world and a smart optimistic politician would seek to tie the UK to such a region. (Sarc) Who knows we might call the thing a Commonwealth (/Sarc)

On the negative side, it is quite possible that Scotland will decide to separate from the UK and rush to join the EU. There is a significant fraction of the English population that sees Scotland as a bunch of freeloaders who inflicted the “New Labour” government of Blair and Brown on the rest of the UK so that divorce may be quicker and nastier than Scots expect. I have no doubt that EU politicians will welcome them and that Scotland will end up regretting its choice. Depending on who is in power in London at the time, it is quite likely that Scotland will not be bailed out again (the union of 1707 was essentially because Scotland was utterly bankrupt) because of the aforementioned perceived grudge aganst the ungrateful freeloaders. If so the only way it will survive is to embrace all sorts of policies (fracking, free markets) that the SNP hates. Probably this will be a good thing since it might help Scotland regain the mindset that led it to provide so many influential writers and politicians to Great Britain (and thence the world) in the 18th and 19th centuries, but I imagine it will be painful.

Another big question is Ireland. The English oppressed Ireland mightily for some 900 years so it is understandable that the Irish Republic was keen to join the EEC/EU since it wasn’t dominated by England. Similarly the creation of Northern Ireland is something that any dispassionate external observer has to consider a mistake – indeed there’s probably a lot of lternate history where Ireland is grated home rule in the 1890s as an entire island. Hence given that Northern Ireland also voted to remain (though not as strongly as Scotland and with significant areas voting to leave) it is not impossible that another result of the referendum is Irish reunification as a part of the EU.

However despite their love of the EU because it isn’t England I’m not so sure the Irish really have much in common with continental Europe. If the UK and the Nordic countries were to form some kind of EFTA and the Euro collapses again it is quite possible Ireland would seek to join that.

All of this future depends heavily on voters electing moderately sane politicians and, sadly, although the UK will almost certainly avoid insane politicians because of the referendum, there is a strong possibility that the establishment in other countries will fail to learn the lessons and end up ceding their power to something nastier.

Political Extremism

The great and the good of the UK – that is the BBC, most elected politicians and journalists as well as the “intelligentsia” – did their best to paint the Leave campaign as a bunch of xenophobic “little Englanders”. They failed in large part because a large chunk of the ruling Conservative party MPs as well as some significant Labour party MPs were clearly not extremists. Had few or no mainstream politicians gone for Leave things would have been far worse as it would have been much simpler to paint the UK Independence Party (UKIP) as said xenophobes, even though a deeper inspection would probably have show that UKIP itself is a coalition and much of the coalition are not xenophobic. The result of this referendum is sure to cause some political earthquakes in the UK. I would not be surprised to see Labour become a party of just the Right on SJW forces combined with some nasty Islamic radicals, while UKIP hoovers up their former white working class base in England and Wales (the SNP already got their Scottish working class votes). However although the dynamics will change I don’t expect the UK to elect a truly extremist party to govern anything other than a local council and probably not even that.

It is my belief that the UK dodged a bullet here. In almost every other country in the EU, the anti-EU forces are fascist, nationalist or socialist (and some combine elements of all). Perhaps worse these parties have been successfully labeled as such, whether or not they actually are, and as a result they are attracting the would-be jackbooted thugs even if they didn’t want them. This will not end well. In Europe immigration and unemployment/economic growth are huge causes of discontent. The elites have done their best to label anyone who complains about either as an extremist and this is going to come back and bite them hard. Unless they actually address the issues, we will either see elections where the “extremist” parties win (see Germany/Italy in the 1930s) or we will see revolution and civil war (Spain in the 1930s) and by the time the extremists take to power the economies will be so screwed up that idiotic measures like protectionism will seem to make sense. Some European politicians made noises today about the need to listen to the people and some “extremist” parties aren’t yet so demonized that the extremists are in control, but there’s not much time before disaster is set in motion. In some countries it may be too late.

Thanks to President “l’escroc” Chirac and his successor Sarkozy failing to kill the unions and liberalize the labour laws I think France is hosed. While the current leader of the Front National (Marine Le Pen) is slightly less xenophobic than her predecessor (and father) her proposed economic policies, should she manage a Frexit, make Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both seem sane and moderate. Should be become elected France will do its best to imitate those powerhouses of 1970s economic growth: Brazil and Argentina. On the other hand as the current president is discovering without a way to control the unions, labour reform of any sort is impossible, and without that France is stuck in a world of high unemployment.

The good news is that if the UK thrives in a post Brexit world, the chances are higher that most of Europe will figure out the problem and adjust themselves instead of insisting that the UK shoot itself in the foot too to make everything equal.

238 thoughts on “Brexit: How, Why and What Next? – Francis Turner

  1. One of the most interesting considerations of the vote is the extraordinarily high percentage of voters who thought the fix was in, the vote rigged, yet turned out to vote for exit anyway.

    When over a third of the electorate believes the government views them as the problem it is hard for the government to claim legitimacy.

    1. Of course, if that’s the case, there might be a good number who thought the fix was in and thus felt they could vote “out” in order to give the ruling class the middle finger without risking any actual changes to the status quo. Some of those voters might be feeling like the dog who actually caught that Chevy he’d been chasing right about now.

    2. Tbh you have a large percentage here in US starting to recognize that it is government of, by, and for the rulers. Not the people.

      1. Look, I’ve long been very skeptical of that view. I hated the Democrats, originally because of Bill Clinton alienating me, and what the Democrats did in Tulsa in 1921. I still hate the Democratic Party. I was prepared to be very loyal to the Republican party in order to hurt the Democratic Party.

        Now failure theater, Hastert and Trump have me looking very closely at the Republicans.

        1. Problem is that regardless of the party in power the bureaucracy will still enforce it’s will. And most of the country is fine with it if it’s done against someone they dislike. In the last decade reps have been more interested in amnesty and not looking racist that they ignore other issues and poo poo the populace. Never a good start

          1. May 3 was a very hard time for me, but I did some re-examination. I have a new confidence in the possibility of political reform.

            1. I’m in the state of hope for best, plan for worst. Perhaps partly from being in environments where not being liberal leftist gets threats

          2. Not if the Potomac runs red with the blood of the bureaucrats, or a meteor strikes D.C., or all the states secede leaving D.C. holding the bag.

        2. Gee, the Wikipedia article somehow doesn’t mention that it was mostly Democrats.

      2. Government is always by and for the rulers. It’s gust that there have been times in our history when the People WERE sovereign. Admittedly brief ones…..

        1. Ya. And I know there is an irony in the fact that the of, by, for quote cones from a president with a spotty rights history in some cases

    3. The ugly lack of trust can be seen by the fact many came to vote carrying their own PEN rather than use the supplied pencil. They didn’t trust the politicians not to erase their vote and change it. This isn’t a small thing. It betrays an expectation of fraud and corruption as the norm.

    1. Indeed, I was fascinated by it – the column brought out quite a few facts that (somehow for some strange mysterious reason) the American Press *cough*jackassliberalmonolith*cough* never mentioned.

  2. Best overall analysis of the Brexit I have yet read. Kudos to Sarah for giving Francis Turner a soap box! Kudos to Francis for devoting time and energy to this in-depth examination of a hot-button topic.

  3. Good piece.

    Having just ended a discussion that involved insistence that ‘It was a racist campaign to leave!’, I have even more sympathy for the people in Britain who got tired of being called that and said “Screw you, I’m voting to leave!”

    1. I’m involved in one of those myself. I feel like I’m mostly arguing with uninformed high schoolers.

    2. I seem to be surrounded by folks saying precisely that – “The folks who voted Leave are all racists” – but I’m keeping my mouth shut, because I am worse than horrible at this type of debate. I just end up sounding like a fool and an idiot.

  4. It will be interesting to see how the Scotland question gets resolved. As I recall, the EU had stated that they had no interest in accepting an independent Scotland, and that was part of the reason why Scotland voted to stay in the UK. Of course part of that was that they disliked the precedent of a formerly independent country deciding it wanted to be independent again, so perhaps the EU has changed its mind on that point now that the horse is out of the barn. And perhaps they’d just be eager to stick a finger in England’s eye and believe that accepting an independent Scotland would be the way to do it.

    1. Maybe…but the Brussels bureaucrats can add and subtract when they really want to and at the moment, as Francis mentions, Scotland is a net drain. They need blood donors, not vampires, to keep the scam going. So I predict the EU will fan-dance all around Scotland to keep it interested and England pissed off but will never quite fully commit. 😀

      1. I suspect that Scotland’s enthusiasm for leaving (and the EU’s lust to accept them) will be affected by the drop in the value of the North Sea oil reserves.

        1. The North Sea wells are starting to run dry. It will cost several tens of billions to cap the wells and remove the platforms. Of course, for the right money, I bet there are some American oil firms that might give directional drilling and fracking a try on those fields……

          1. IIRC, the British just lifted the restrictions on fracking, while Germany essentially banned it.

      2. True. I suspect that running the numbers would produce the distinct fear that an independent Scotland could turn into North Greece. However, Brussels bureaucrats have also shown that they’re capable of ignoring the numbers, or accepting obviously faked ones, when it suits their purpose. As Jane Austen pointed out, “Angry people are not always wise,” and right now, Brussels bureaucrats are very angry indeed.

        1. Yes, but there are enough separatist movements in Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, that bureaucrats from those areas will nix Scotland coming in. No one in Madrid or Rome wants Catalonia or the League of the North to think secession is a good idea.

          1. I’m trying to think of a scenario where the EU would find it beneficial to allow some of the separatist movements break away. Certainly Spain would become much weaker if Catalonia and the Basque regions were to seperate. Italy would no longer exist if the north broke away. The map would look like a strange mix of the 1400s and today.

          2. 60 guilders

            in the case of Catalunya, separation is now pretty much a foregone conclusion. Whether it’ll join the EU or EFTA remains to be seen. I would prefer EFTA since I distrust the Brusselians (aka EUcrats)

            My view is that the political union is dead but the economic one will live on. Now the question is: will Europe be Liberal (as in Bastait, the Slamanca School, Constant, etc) or the statist.

            1. That’s a great idea. Since I’m sure the EU will not want to let you join because of the Castillians being all butthurt I’m sure we woudl wlecome you with open arms. You know, I have an even better idea, how about we let you have Gibraltar as well?

              Also if the UK manages to revitalize EFTA and perhaps entice would-be nations like Catalonia to join then another obvious new nation would be Flanders. God knows how the EU would cope with its capital city surrounded by a non-member nation but it might be interesting

          3. “No one in Madrid or Rome wants Catalonia or the League of the North to think secession is a good idea.”

            That could be a feature as well as a bug. “Stay in the EU, or we’ll support your separatist movements” sounds like a good threat in Brussels.

    2. One possibility, which is also in play with regard to Puerto Rico, is that an independent Scotland might just decide to give a hearty FU to anyone (Brits or Euros) who decline to subsidize them by inviting the Russians (or Iranians for P.R.) to have basing rights for naval vessels there.

    3. Spain will never let Scotland join the EU under these circumstances out of fear that Catalonia will then want to follow suit.

  5. With the exception of the Dutch …

    It ought be recalled that English Law is essentially a Dutch legacy, established by William of Orange in the aftermath of “the Glorious Revolution” and codified in the Bill of Rights 1689, which is largely reprised in our American Constitution:

    0 laws should not be dispensed with or suspended without the consent of Parliament

    0 no taxes should be levied without the authority of Parliament

    0 the right to petition the monarch should be without fear of retribution

    0 no standing army may be maintained during peacetime without the consent of Parliament

    0 subjects who are Protestants may bear arms for their defence as permitted by law

    0 the election of members of Parliament should be free

    0 the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament should not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament

    0 excessive bail should not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted

    0 jurors should be duly impannelled and returned and jurors in high treason trials should be freeholders

    0 promises of fines or forfeitures before conviction are void

    1. Actually, a lot of the fundamental principles of English law were instituted under Richard III. Peasants had the obligation to learn to bear arms and act as a militia under several of the King Henries, because England needed archers to kick butt like at Agincourt. And so on. You keep going back and back, all the way to Anglo-Saxon times, and there’s always something going on with English liberties being instituted or defended.

      Of course, the same thing is true in a lot of other European countries, but they tended to squash their ancient liberties at some point.

      1. Y’all are both wrong. Fundamental English liberties are due solely to the European Commission for Human Rights. The Guardian has a video featuring Patrick Stewart saying so.

        1. Good grief! That’s the same commission that failed to return a child kidnapped by the state (Sweden, on mighty flimsy grounds) to the parents. I therefore suspect that they wouldn’t recognize a human right even if it slapped them across their faces. Look up “Domenic Johansson” for the tragic details.

  6. I will admit to schadenfreude from all the whining and hurt on Twitter from millennials that were on the losing end of this. But also very discouraging how many simply want to go a strongman route and find a way to muzzle the older voters who disagree with them.

    1. To be fair, an awful lot of them have no idea what self-determination is like.

    2. I heard tell that people were claiming that it was millennial that made the difference for the vote. I replied that I thought the politicians might not know, and might just be looking for scapegoats.

      In fairness, politically unwise statements by young people are a fruit of success. We do not yet have the endemic purges and civil wars that teach people political discretion at a young age. Some of them are magical thinking activists, but some of them may simply be unaware that they could bring about something that they would really not enjoy.

      1. All I have seen have been the chart showing that as you got older desire for exit increased. And yeah. The patterns of history are much easier to read when you have lived thru them. And so much has been selfish “it’ll affect me personally” and expecting everyone else to vote for their comfort and ease of living

        1. I find it interesting that so many commentators are willing to believe that age brings unwisdom. It’s more likely that the older voters have more knowledge of the Cold War years and the World War II years before them, so they know how bad things can get, and how severely elites can lie to their peoples.

          1. Given that those commentators generally hold the view that wisdom means “agreeing with me” there can be scant doubt that age (and experience) brings unwisdom.

  7. This zerohedge article has interesting charts. The people who were screaming “end of the world!” are indeed the people taking the hit. UK stock market is down, but the rest of Europe is down moar.

    I don’t remember where I found it (via Insty, probably), but I think this is a contender for Quote of the Day: “[Britain] just demonstrated that it doesn’t need the officious intervention of the worst president in the history of its former colony.”

  8. I can see the EU going to war with the UK, but in the unique fashion of entrenched bureaucrats, e.g., dragging their feet on negotiating and implementing the terms of separation, enacting sanctions because of ginned-up human rights race and gender issues, tariffs and other trade fees, harassing regional and trade travel and transportation, letting particularly undesirable “immigrants” and “refugees” slip through their borders, etc.

    They might even make a great show of garrisoning “EU” troops in a separatist Scotland.

    1. Tariffs and sanctions would likely be suicide for the EU. Britain imports more from Europe than it exports to Europe, meaning that it would be a net loss for European companies. German manufacturers (i.e. the industrial powerhouse of the EU) have apparently already announced that going protectionist against Great Britain as a result of Brexit would likely cost lots of jobs.

      And imports from the US and Asia would almost certainly cover any lost imports from the EU.

      That’s not to say that the civil servants in Brussels won’t do it anyway out of pique. But it would be a very stupid move.

      1. That’s not to say that the civil servants in Brussels won’t do it anyway out of pique. But it would be a very stupid move.

        The Eurocrats excel at stupid moves. The Euro being exhibit 1. They appear to be gathering the forces to firmly bolt the stable doors now, lest any other horses bolt. Meanwhile some idiot is in the hayloft having a cigarette.

    2. Should the EU go to bureaucratic war with the UK, I can see a president Trump fast tracking a US-UK free trade agreement, perhaps with the possibility of adding the rest of the Anglosphere. Then the UK can say by-by to the EU with a smile while tearing up the EU treaty. It would be interesting times for the UK auto industry.

      1. Oh yes indeed. Trump could well redefine the A in NAFTA to be Atlantic. A North Atlantic Free Trade Area could well suck out a lot of the other sceptical EU nations

      2. Alternatively, since the Russian Federation has been refused EU membership, it might make a sweetheart deal with Britain.

          1. The population of Scotland is 5.2 million, there are 50 *cities* larger than that. And Scotland is short of natural resources, has an aging or obsolete industrial infrastructure, and a well-developed socialist welfare society.

            While joining the EU would benefit Scotland, it would probably wind up as a net drain on EU resources.

            1. It would actually be kind of funny — you’d have Scots fleeing south across a “Tartan Curtain.” Peter Hamilton has this happen in one of his future histories.

      3. Have you seen Trump’s financials from the latest round of FEC filings? He is purportedly attempting to run a presidential election on a shoestring budget.

        There are three possibilities. 1) Trump is running some sort of con, and winning isn’t actually his goal. 2) He is a blithering incompetent and will lose. 3) The polls are garbage, and this cycle is really, really, really strange.

        Yes, we know that 3) is at least 3/5s true, but the remaining fraction includes some fairly significant details.

        1. I would suggest a fourth possibility, that the portion of the campaign budget that would go to ad buys is, at least for now, unnecessary because the media, old and new, are fixated on reporting on his behavior.

          1. I count that possibility as part of 3. That this cycle is so strange that the old wisdom about the risks that need to be mitigated is invalid.

            Look at his fundraising for May. Look at his cash in hand. The cheap route is a decent bet for the convention, but the sort of organization that wins the general has historically had a very long lead time. He is doing almost nothing in terms of building such an organization, or raising the funds for it.

            Maybe he won’t need it. Still, it is safest for a politician running on a conservative brand to assume that the media will screw them over, and not provide any benefit.

          2. Please. He’s about to find out why Republicans buy ads. If he thinks the subtle push in his favor continues in the general, he’s stupider than I believe.

            1. The possibility ought not be ignored that the MSM has so thoroughly embarrassed and discredited itself that their attacks on Trump routinely backfire, e.g., “if they hate him so much he must be on to something good.”

              OTOH, pushing all his chips in on that bet strikes me as foolish, almost as foolish as giving money to the usual cohort of GOP strategists.

              1. Yeah. The general election is not something where you bet everything on a high risk never been successful before strategy.

                The Republican political consultant establishment might be fairly classified as a bunch of screw ups. Mike Murphy certainly hasn’t been wonderful this cycle.

                The Trump path to victory theory, and what the elite consultants are selling can both be wrong.

                That said, volunteers and paid staff for a GOTV organization are probably important. I suspect also big data. I have an even weaker grasp on ads.

                1. I’ll point out that I’ve volunteered for the last THREE republican campaigns. So I get emails soliciting me to join the GOTV or office efforts. Nothing from Trump. Not a peep. I did hear from Rubio and Jeb! in the primaries. That was it. But I suspected once nomination was secure, I’d hear. But Trump? NOTHING.

  9. Excellent piece, Francis. The poem was brilliant and did what a poem should – condensed the entire issue.

    One left-wing elite luvvies of my acquaintance made an interesting statement “I never thought I’d be sad to see David Cameron go.” When you think about it she and her EU officialdom friends are directly responsible for that. They had moderate (very moderate) opposition, that they demonized, and that they refused to let have any real concessions to soothe those unhappy with the EU. Instead they cut his legs out from under him… and then are saddened when he falls. I’ve seen it all too often.

    1. Brecht, as a firm believer in socialism, was apparently embarrassed by the poem, but it’s been one that I’ve never forgotten from my German lessons at school

      1. I’ve used it a time or too myself. I enjoy his early poetry. His later stuff, meh, nomenklatura gonna nomenklat.

  10. Oh, and on support — it’s worth observing that of the 48.1 – a substantive part voted for the EU NOT because they thought it was so good and they supported it, but because the frighteners had been deployed — they were scared of leaving because that would cause bad things. In other words not because staying was great – leaving was bad. As to predictions as to what will happen – I suspect the the EU will 1)try to string it out and make it as unpleasant as possible. They have nothing but the frighteners to offer, and they’re going to to try and make a grim example of the UK. 2)Act like petulant brats and not learn a damn thing. They will double down. They fail to reform one single one of the underlying problems – in fact expect the dictats from Brussels to get more expensive, more PC/SJW and worse for commerce and life in general.

    1. From what I’ve seen, some of the frightening is simply along the lines of losing social status.

      There’s a very close parallel with the US (unsurprisingly) in that much of the voting public doesn’t truly understand the economic mechanics at play here so they leave it to their trusted sources to tell them what opinion to hold. What most people do understand, however, is the loss of social status that comes with signaling the wrong virtue. The fear of being labeled ‘racist’, ‘xenophobe’, blah blah blah is just too great for some to bear. Especially these days when such charges can have tangible impacts upon one’s life.

      I suspect this phenomenon is much more prevalent in the UK, so the fact that it was in the minority is extremely encouraging.

      1. And as will often happen, the tactic of labeling people ‘racist’, ‘xenophobe’, blah blah blah is starting to no longer work.

      2. > much of the voting public doesn’t truly understand the economic mechanics at play

        Congress doesn’t. The Senate doesn’t. The Department of the Treasury doesn’t. They can’t even balance their own budget, much less understand economics.

        Who is this “voting public” who is supposed to be able to make sense of the voodoo and fad wankery that is peddled as “economics”?

  11. Thank you. I was sure it would be worth reading, and it was. It is possible that this will be the best piece on this I read.

    Very much appreciated.

  12. Excellent take and well worth the wait. Thanks for offering it and to Sarah for creating the suspense. 😉

    1. The suspense was my fault for being overoptimistic about how long it would take to write all the bits. I told her 2 hours and it was more like 6

        1. Yes. When someone said it was better than posts here. A) Francis is a better non-fic writer. (I was his fan before he was mine) B) I don’t have six hours a day right now for the PAYING work, much less this.

  13. The thing about the EU is not that it’s inherently a bad idea. The problem is how they went about doing it, and the utter lack of buy-in they got from “the people”. The whole thing has been an enterprise of the elites, and the results of that are to be seen here.

    That, and the fact that the people running the show are the same idiots who’ve been munging up things in Europe since the days of Napoleon, and you’ve got the mess they’ve got now.

    Aspects of the EU were a good idea; the implementation is what they screwed up, big time. And, of course, the effect will be that when the whole thing comes crashing down, the blame will be on the basic idea, not the implementation or the faceless bureaucrats who made it happen. When I first looked the whole thing over, back when it was just “talking about” in the 1980s and the 1990s, I was dubious about the prospects, and not least because of the limited “buy-in” they were offering the peoples of Europe. And, now with the rapefugee process being implemented across the EU, the piper is going to demand his due. I think this is only the first wave of anti-EU change that’s going to sweep the continent, and when the shockwaves hit, the odds are that they’re going to first try ignoring the plebiscites, and then when they do that…? The shooting is going to start.

    See, the thing is, just like here in the US, nobody asked the natives how they felt about being replaced by cheap labor imported to undermine wages and bolster profits for the elites. I have a couple of acquaintances who were just let go from their high-paying jobs in the tech industries, who were replaced by H1-B workers brought in from India, and who they were expected to train on their jobs.

    Guess who just created a couple of Trump voters out of formerly knee-jerk SJW types? This isn’t going to end well, once the white-collar types discover that they can be replaced in their hometowns just as easily as the blue-collar kid down the street. The repercussions of all this crap are going to be like rocks dropped into a pond, and see what happens when those ripples hit each other and reinforce…

    1. Shucks…You could say the same about communism. Great idea in theory – if people were all selfless saints. But the less a system admits to human selfishness the worse it all goes to hell in a hurry.

        1. Nonsense. If we were all Good people, we could count on everyone pitching in to the extent they were able, and it was needed. Anyone who claimed not to be able to support himself would be Honest and so telling the truth, and Grateful for those who helped support him, and would do whatever he could, to make life more pleasant if he could not actually get necessities. Because they are all Wise, they would all know what the necessities of life really were, too, so they would pitch in together to make sure they got them. And they would also Wisely make provision for long-term plans, such as the guy who realized that these pot things could really be useful for cooking and stuff but need time for him to research.

          And once they got past the necessities — my imagination fails me, because I know they would not be Slothful, but on the other hand, they would not be motivated by Greed or Pride, or any other vice. So they would enjoy leisure and work to fulfill their own, or help other’s, dreams, but how they would apportion it, I don’t know.

          1. I think you’ve skipped ahead to Revelation 22:3 “…and his servants shall serve him” cause only saints could do such.

                1. What about “Good Men”? [Very Big Grin While Flying Away Very Fast]

        2. One could argue that by definition Communism also inherits from the fad of technocracy, rule by experts. Problem is that absent divine intervention, as Mary describes, the experts are not and cannot be.

          If the character alone of men were different, a communist society of ‘ants’ would still run into, among other things, the problems of information that information science has elucidated after communism took off.

          1. Von Mises pointed out the information problem, in books he wrote before computers were common. Basically, Communism has no easy way to transmit information about supply and demand so as to result in appropriate production choices.

    2. Have to disagree, I’m afraid. The idea of a Europe-wide free trade zone I think is a good idea, but the “EU,” trying to create a single nation out of groups who don’t see themselves as one people, was always destined to end in tyranny or failure (non-exclusive or). You can’t have democracy without a demos, and it was pretty obvious that the average Frenchman and Englishman and German and the Spaniard didn’t see themselves as part of one European people. Only the cosmopolitan elites even came close to that standard. Thus, the fact that this was “an enterprise of the elites” with an “utter lack of buy-in from the people” wasn’t a mistake of this particular implementation of a united Europe but a fundamental aspect of any attempt to build an EU.

      1. The USA has proven the viability of a continent-wide Free Trade Zone, but we don’t attempt to make Texans accept NY salsa, nor force Carolinians to eat Texas BBQ.

        1. Cowboy: “Says here this picante sauce is made in New York City!”

          Chorus: “New York City!?”

              1. of course all their examples are from ‘scene-y’ or ‘hot’ eateries in fashionable parts of town. i bet the salsa i get from the Mexican place around the corner from me is just as good, and they don’t even have a ‘chef’

        2. Don’t need to force Carolinians to eat Texas BBQ. Nor anyone else. Texas BBQ is pretty much heartily eaten by anyone nearby. Posted from NY.

          1. The problem isn’t that it is Texan or whether or not it is edible. The problem is that it isn’t BBQ.

            Of course, here in the Carolinas bureaucrats would never be able to resolve the battle between advocates of mustard vs tomato based sauce on the pork.

          2. Once you’ve had North Carolina style vinegar/mustard barbecue, the Texas style just doesn’t make the grade any more…

            NC style is usually served with bread on the side, not as a sandwich. Ironically, it’s usually “Texas toast.”

            1. I like everything BBQ, including Korean. And I like all chili, including Cincinnati/Greek-style. What gives me trouble is thinking of Wisconsin bratwurst as bratwurst at all.

              (Bratwurst is a technique of making wurst, not a recipe. There are something like 50 different kinds of bratwurst in the world. But the ingredients and style can be hugely different, and I miss the traditional Dayton/Cincinnati style of bratwurst when I can’t get it.)

              1. I miss the traditional Dayton/Cincinnati style of bratwurst when I can’t get it.)

                When we were still living in Granbury Tx, a refugee from Cincinnati opened a butcher shop/sausage factory/restaurant that had the absolute best brats I ever had. After we left we always stopped there to get several pounds to bring back home. I have heard Mr Niester has since sold it and moved back to Ohio…….

            2. The problem isn’t that it is Texan or whether or not it is edible. The problem is that it isn’t BBQ.

              GET A ROPE!!!!!!

                1. I’ll still take churrasco seasoned with naught but rock salt over just about anything else, particularly if I can get picanha medium done, but I’ll not turn my nose up at any well-cooked meat dish, nor fish flesh either. I’ve spent too much of my life broke or outright poor to be picky about my food. Bring on all the self-proclaimed barbecue!

                2. Fluffy is of the opinion that if you put near his tummy while he’s naming, so it gets cooked through and through by the radiating warmth, it’s BBQ whatever the sauce it.

                3. “Do you want me to come up there?”
                  *chorus* “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo….”

              1. Only if you are posting a message composed in vi from a Blackberry running 16 bit DOS, and sent to wordpress by way of the most godawful kluge known to software history.

        3. It’s also important to point out that until recently Americans viewed themselves as one people. Post WWII the Progressives started undermining that as a means to political power. They were somewhat successful, but not nearly as much as they seem.

          1. I think that’s a matter of what period you look at. WWII was a popular and succssful war, with a lot of cairly good unifying propaganda being circulated. I’m not convinced (from what I kniw of popular culture) that there was as much unity before. Certainly the mass media was drivung things in that direction, but films and radio were relatively new and TV was just happening right then.

            Certainly, the Progressives started to try to pry people apart shortly thereafter. They thought they would emerge from the war with “the workers” with them, and discovered to their horror that the workers had had enough of being shouted at and lined up and wanted a ranch house in Levittown and a car with tail fins, NOW! Since the ‘we’re all Americans together’ wasn’t worning the way they wanted it to, they started to undermine it.

            1. Pish-tosh, CSP — you d-well know the United States was a wholly unified people in the 19th Century!

              Those people in New England giving aid and comfort to the Brits were just mischievous scamps and their going on about secession was naught but a jest. Having the House decide the presidential election of 1824 was just to give those boys something to do, and the Whigs in 1836 running multiple candidates in an effort to let the House decide again was a trip down Memory Lane. The Whigs 1841 expulsion from the party of their president, Tyler was just one of those pranks boys will get up to.

              And the whole argument over States Rights and the Peculiar Institution was settled calmly in the 1860s over a series of barbecues held at Manassas, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Vicksburg, Gettysburg (where General Pickett famously put the main course on his charge card), Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Petersburg and Appomattox. Afterward all hard feelings were forgotten and nary a cross word exchanged since.

              Later on there were some polite discussions over whether we should stick to the Gold Standard or devalue the fisc, but they were very polite and civilised affairs.

    3. That, and the fact that the people running the show are the same idiots who’ve been munging up things in Europe since the days of Napoleon, and you’ve got the mess they’ve got now.

      Before Napoleon, more than likely, since the people who came to power in the aftermath of Napoleon’s fall were by and large the same people who’d been in power when the French Revolution upset the apple cart.

      1. Which is why the French are on their fifth republic, with a few non-republican governments in between, in the time we’ve had two.

        1. .. and the second one we’ve had was instituted in 1787, just a decade and a few years after the first one, and we’ve kept it ever since, despite several major wars. That’s almost 230 years under the same Constitution — we’re approaching a quarter-millennium, which is pretty successful for any Constitution.

    4. The original thought was that trade blocs (rather than global free trade) was the way to go. They were wrong but this is the 1950s and it wasn’t so obvious. and for sure Trade blocs were better than 1930s protectionism so some net improvement. If the EU had remained the EEC as a trade bloc and with common fishing/agriculture policies (even though I don’t really like those) I suspect the UK would still be a member. But they didn’t. They kept pushing for “ever closer union” and meant harmonizing and centralizing regulation of masses of things. And not only did that not work – they knew it wouldn’t work because they’d just seen the centrally planned economies of Eastern Europe collapse. That’s the problem.

      The US grew into a free trade and common currency area organically. The Eurocrats tried to impose the same by diktat from on high.

      1. The US grew into a free trade and common currency area organically. The Eurocrats tried to impose the same by diktat from on high.

        Actually, we grew into it after the disaster of the Articles of Confederation. Two rights ceded by the states to central government was the right to impose tariffs on goods from other states and the right to mint their own currency. Until the ratification of the US Constitution, the states could and did do both. A state could impose a tariff on goods from another state, and there were at least fifteen types of currency in the United States: Federal currency; state currency; and the Spanish Real.

        That got hammered out because the whole mess was about to fold. Britain wouldn’t pull out of some areas ceded to the US in the Treaty of Paris because the US was too weak to tell them “git!” and none other than Ethan Allen was in talks for Vermont to do a Vexit and return to the British Empire. If they really wanted a separate nation and retain their hard-won liberties, they were going to have to get their act together. When you consider that George III wanted to limit colonial expansion, trade, and rights, that wasn’t a trivial thing.

        To cut to the chase, the states wanted to hammer out a stronger country because they saw the danger of dissolving as being a danged sight more involved than trade. Trade was an issue but not as big an issue has having three world powers at your door step, even if two had just helped you against the third, plus groups that may or may not choose to be allies and some more than willing to serve as proxies for the world powers.

        That’s a danged sight more incentive than exists for the EU – and if the EU wanted to make a United States of Europe, they should have studied the issues of balancing central authority vs local autonomy hammered out at our Constitutional Convention. That, or the Swiss Cantons.

        1. I was thinking more of how the colonies expanded westwards when I referred to organic growth. But yeah the initial change from confederation to federal was key and did have some incentives that the EU didn’t have

          1. Chief among those incentives was the Federal government taking over the various states’ accumulated war debt. This was something which those states who had substantially retired such debt were not eager to undertake.

        2. That the Europeans wanted as a loose union. But what they got was a vast and indifferent bureaucracy, taxation, and absentee lawmaking. Brussels administers to the member nations much like the British Empire administered its colonies.

          Which is one reason few of them are colonies any more…

        3. You are right about the tariffs, but wrong about the currency. Currency was minted by anyone who wanted to before the Civil War. Any bank with enough gold in reserve could start printing money, and no one said a word.

  14. Thank you for that. When Scotland went opposite of how I assumed, I knew I needed some catching up on European politics. Sources like the Beebe say more about themselves instead of how it went down.

    1. I’m still wondering about Scotland. The only reports I’ve seen show it as 100% in favor of staying EU subjects. This just does NOT seem reasonable to me, even though I know the Scots are now devout Socialists.
      I suspect some creative vote-counting, much like Chicago’s.

      1. I have vague recollections of seeing something like 1.6 million to remain vs. 1 million to stay for Scotland.

    1. : -)

      To repost something I said on another website this morning:

      Most of the talk is about Britain, and rightfully so, but we should take a moment to acknowledge that Obama has continued his perfect record at campaigning for issues or people who aren’t him!

      1. The guy he campaigned for in 2008 wasn’t him, either.

        Just as the guy he campaigned against in 2012 wasn’t Mitt Romney.

      2. There were a lot of jokes in the UK about the curse of Gordon Brown when he whowed up supporting remain. Obama and Brown share the habit of backing stuff that fails.

        And I see that President Petulant has doubled down on hist insistence that the UK goes to the back of the queue on trade deals. Trump, on the other hand has welcomed Brexit.

          1. Obama clearly has a problem with the country. What exactly that problem is remains speculative (despite some rather interesting theories). But he’s done a lot to push Great Britain away.

            1. My guess is that it’s not “new” enough for his tastes, which, when combined with its support for the war in Iraq, was the kiss of death as far as he was concerned.

      3. Campaigning? Obama can’t even pick a championship sports team during the finals. You would think with a 50% chance, he’d get one right on pure accident.

  15. And, judging by the leftist reaction, they clearly believe that the problem is that they were insufficiently snobbish and hectoring enough.

    1. Well, they may be right. My 2020 campaign internals from Rasmussen say that my arrogant, contemptuous, and relentlessly strident manner has improved my position by 0.3%. I’m up 1.6% among cannibals, and am starting to consolidate Diplomacy LARPers.

  16. I dropped in on Schlock Mercenary today. As expected, Howard Tayler posted a review of Independence Day: Resurgence. Unfortunately, the review was much briefer than his usual movie reviews, because he felt the need to post a good-sized rant against the “old people” in Great Britain who he thinks voted against the interests of the “young people” in the Brexit vote.

    I suspect I’m going to see a lot more along those lines in the coming days… until most everyone in the US quickly forgets about it.

    1. Blah, blah, blah, Howard Tayler doesn’t think Irish, Italians, or Cubans are human.

      1. I don’t follow. When did he mention, or imply something about, Ireland, Italy, or Cuba? Could you expand on your comment a bit, so that I can understand what you mean?

        1. Remember the cartoon last fall that showed the daughters of Cruz as organ grinder monkeys? Tayler tweeted about it, and finished with ‘Cruz is the real monster’. If he hasn’t had the sense to take it down, you can see for yourself. If Tayler were anything other than a leftist, an SJW could easily interpret his statement as I suggested.

          Ted Cruz is by ancestry Cuban, Italian, and Irish.

          I forget which details convinced me of his SJW qualities. Perhaps his ties to Mary Kowal, and the rumors he was the one to campaign for her on Writing Excuses?

          1. Ted Cruz is by ancestry Cuban, Italian, and Irish.

            Ah. I knew he had Cuban ancestry, but didn’t know that he also had Italian and Irish in the mix. I do remember that cartoon, though I had somehow managed to miss Tayler’s reaction to it.

              1. I’m still enjoying Schlock Mercenary and haven’t yet seen him get preachy in it. But… yeah, now that I think about it, my desire to have Schlock Mercenary in print form has just gone to zero. I’ll just take any money he would have gotten from me, and use it to buy one of the Sad Puppies authors’ non-Baen novels instead. (If they wrote any novels for Baen, I probably already own them).

    2. I’m not sure why, but I used to think that Tayler was a libertarian-leaning conservative. But the more I see of his Twitter feed and his movie reviews, the more I’m realizing that he really leans PC/statist. I won’t say he’s full-on SJW, but he does seem to lean that way.

      If I’m wrong, I’d love to be shown the evidence — because I would like to be wrong in this instance.

      1. Schlock Mercenary tends to leans anti-government. While the government led by Earth is nominally a “good guy” star empire, it’s still heavy handed, and corrupt.

        In fact, the storyline that involved the attack on Earth was probably the first storyline to introduce members of the Earth government that weren’t trying to actively screw over the Toughs. Though said members of the government have seemingly become permanent regular members of the cast.

      2. “I’m not sure why, but I used to think that Tayler was a libertarian-leaning conservative.”

        Perhaps the depiction of his fictional counterpart in John Ringo’s Troy Rising series may have influenced your perception of his politics as libertarian?

        1. One of my problems with “libertarian-leaning conservatives” is that they often have no sound foundation to their political philosophy and are easily toppled into an other category entirely. Just as Liberals can often morph into totalitarianism and Conservatives slide into authoritarianism.

          Few people actively think through the implications of their political beliefs and modify their fundamental premises accordingly, and our culture is not one which encourages such rigorous thinking. Those who do not go out on the internet and debate seriously and honestly tend to have a lot of general inclinations that can be easily shifted.

          Those who do go out on the internet and debate seriously and honestly tend to be jerks.

          1. Don’t know why he thinks he needs the approval of people like Mary Three Names, who let herself be bullied by someone like Requires Hate. He’s better than that, or should be.

            1. because SJWs are experts at convincing one that they need to kowtow.
              Which is why she was so shocked I didn’t bow to her accusation of my use of Chicom being a racial slur. 😛

    3. This, and it brings up a question on my mind since Spokane:

      Is Howard Tayler a puppykicker?

      I ask because last year in his comments on Schlock Mercenary he made a non-specific comment about being pleased with Worldcon, and I was still sufficiently pissed about what went down to know I might be reading into it more than was there. Since I had a chip on my shoulder about it, I asked in a closed forum, but no one seemed to have an answer one way or the other. I still don’t know, and his comments today may mean nothing in that regards. But it’s still very much on my mind.

      Frankly I don’t know how he stands on Sad Puppies. He could be a Sad Puppy supporter for all I know. I just would like to know where he stands. Especially after the tone of his Brexit comments.

      It’s the tone that’s ticked me off, and why he lost a fan tonight. There are authors who I disagree with who I still read all because they express their difference of opinion with class. Eric Flint immediately comes to mind. The attitude that came through in Mr. Tayler’s comments tonight is not one I care for. He could have expressed disappointed that the Remain vote didn’t carry the day in a classy manner, and chose not to do so. That he didn’t says a lot.

      Some may say I’m a fine one to make this sort of comment, and they may be right. But I was still put off by the tone of Mr. Tayler’s comments, and I don’t care to read his web comic ever again.

      1. Tayler does the ‘Writing Excuses’ podcast with Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal. And I think I’ve seen occasional comments from people who suspect that Kowal’s views (the same people also claim she dislikes Puppies) have been influencing Tayler since they started working together on the podcast.

        I don’t know much about Sanderson’s personal views, though Larry Correia claims him as a friend. And I haven’t seen anything overtly political on his blog. And the only seemingly political thing that I’ve noted in his novels (which I love) was a rant in Alloy of Law – made by the bad guy.

        I don’t know a thing about Wells.

        I should note that I don’t know anything about Kowal, either.

        1. Hoyt and Kowal have had some friction. Correia knows Tayler, Wells, and IIRC Sanderson personally. IIRC Wells was in one or two of the Rokugan games whose summaries Correia posted.

          1. I realized that when she claimed that using Roman Numerals is proof that Westerners are -all- abused, repressed victim-y victims and thus need to realize we all need to bow down and worship at the cult of victimhood.

        2. Sanderson’s made a comment or two about not agreeing with Sad Puppies (more in an Eric Flint sense than File770 kicking), but he’s pissed at Rabid Puppies. Then again, look at his editor and podcast-mates. (And, considering his writing as of late, Words of Radiance and beyond, he might want to.)

    4. I saw that, too. I’m not going to cancel my pre-order for “Force Multiplication” or try for a refund on my Kickstarter contribution to the “Planet Mercenary” RPG (for starters, I don’t know if you can get a refund once a project has gone live), but that is the last of my money that I’m going to be giving him after his denigrating the older people that voted to leave as fearful “jingoistic relics of isolationism”, plus his earlier Twitter and FB denigration of those who support the RKBA after Orlando.

      The “review” (not even a third of the entire entry, disincluding the footnotes) in question, for those not following the comic:

      1. Tayler, I think, bought into the idea of the EU, and didn’t bother to look at the implementation.
        A common malady among artists.

      2. To clarify, while the commentary content itself was not happy-making (so to speak) for me, what really bugged me about it was that he threw out a half-[donkey]ed review that doesn’t actually say much about the movie that was apparently posted primarily to provide an excuse for politicking.

        1. Uhhhhmmmmm, no.

          Politicking is an effort to sway somebody’s vote. He missed his chance to do that by waiting until after the votes had been cast.

          This was a pointless tantrum which could only alienate many readers while virtue-signalling to non-readers. It is an inherently self-destructive rant.

      3. Sometime after Spokane, I just sort of lost track of School Mercenary. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I just kept forgetting to read the comic and lost track of the reviews. He lost my interest with his non Schlock commentary.

        So maybe I can stop feeling guilty for not keeping up.

    5. Sooooo … just how much time has Tayler spent in Britain, listening to the hopes and dreams of Britain’s young that he presumes to know that they’ve “spent [the last twenty] years looking forward with hope, not backward with fear.”?

      Or does he just watch a lot of Doctor Who?

      1. I dunno… I haven’t felt the need to leave Arkansas in ten years. The rest of “these United States” is just what comes in over the wire, same as the rest of the world. Any information I look up for “Britain” is no more or less realistic than for California, Michigan, or Texas.

        Heck, the only news site I hit regularly is “Siberian Times”, which is in English, for no explicable reason.

  17. Fundamentally, it’s not really my business to say how the UK should vote or should have voted on Brexit. I’m a US citizen, and they don’t belong to me.

    But simply as a matter of opinion, the Brexit vote delights me; and I think it’s a good thing that they’re giving the EU the heave-ho.

  18. Intersting note on the long WSJ article Insty links about Scotland: When they had inquired before the 2014 vote on exiting the UK, their EU overlords in Brussels made it clear that they could not just exit the UK and stay in the EU; as a newly independant country, Scotland would have to apply and meet all the same entry criteria as the other countries that had joined before they could be admitted and gain access to EU subsidies and benefits.

    Now the EU members could vote an exception, but getting everyone to agree on something like that would be tricky, and the Scots don’t have a whole lot of horses to trade for those votes. Post Brexit, the EU just might vote them that exception to stick a finger in the remaining UKs eye, but again all memebrs would have to agree, and seeing that Italy has apparently held up an EU trade deal with Oz over canned tomatoes, there’s probably something that would hang that finger-poking vote up.

    Facinating stuff.

  19. Read on one or another news service today that per exit polls, a majority in Scotland said they’d have voted Leave if they’d known Leave would win.

    And I wonder what the tally would have looked like minus the immigrant vote. Remain seems to have been concentrated in central London… hmm.

    Handy Chart:

    1. > a majority in Scotland said they’d have voted Leave if they’d known Leave would win.
      I’ve seen that with US elections. People who sat on the couch watching TV until the news told them who was going to win, then they’d run to the polls to cast their vote for the winning side. Even if it was the side they supposedly were opposing.

  20. The so-called BREXIT vote convinced me that England still has a few decent folks left. Some folks still like the famous music hall songs:

    and also …/watch?v=HAmkuDFApIo

    The fact that both Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to stay convinced me that gingers are very dangerous. /s

    1. One doesn’t.

      I phoned my Uncle Johnny (WWII Parachute Regiment) last night to wish him a happy 90th birthday. He was putting on his overcoat and heading into the rain to his polling station in West Yorkshire. I asked which way he was planning to vote.

      “When I was 20 I dropped into France to stop the Germans taking over my country,” he replied, “so I thought I’d better have another go at stopping them now.”

    2. Keep in mind that up until the German Reunification, it was *French* vassal.

      Germany didn’t become the economic powerhouse until after the reunification. Prior to that point, France clearly had hopes that it could use the European Community to gather power unto itself (since France has never quite accepted the fact that it’s no longer the most important nation in the world). I suspect that the French scheme was too far advanced to successfully back out of once Reunification took place, and the French basically got caught flat-footed.

      From what I understand, Thatcher kept her distance. But presumably, when she left office, the dislike of her among the establishment meant that Britain was going to get involved in the Community come Hell or High Water.

        1. Still does. The southwestern parts of Germany are seething at still paying taxes to support the Old East. Or that’s what the politicos are saying they’re doing with the money.

  21. The bile being spat by the depressed remainers is astounding, and not helping their cause at all. In fact I think it’s probably about as counter productive as can be. Take this outpouring of bile by Reuters hack Felix Salmon

    With a single vote, England just screwed us all

    [T]hat world—the world of hope, the world of ever-closer union among countries which for centuries would kill each other by the million—came to a shattering end on Thursday.

    It happened with a wholly unnecessary vote, which was called by Britain’s gormless prime minister, David Cameron, for the sole purpose of trying to engineer a tactical advantage in last year’s general election. The Brexit referendum—the referendum that sealed the fate of an entire continent—should never have happened in the first place. But even though the decision to call the referendum was truly idiotic, the responsibility for the outcome still rests on the shoulders of the British people—and, specifically, of the English people.

    1. Such reactions are common when the subordinate party in an abusive relationship finally leaves.

    2. “With a single vote, England just screwed us all”

      I really couldn’t make it past the opening paragraphs of mewling dreck. I never cease to be amazed at the authoritarian and totalitarian impulses of Europeans.

      “Voting screwed us all.”

      “Voting was unnecessary.”

      While the first depends wholly upon your definition of “screwed”, the second is quite obviously false. And yet here Britain lies again with so many would-be fascists within their borders. This time calling everyone else fascists.

      1. The first duty/responsibility of a government is to secure the confidence of its people. That they could have so neglected that is telling.

        That after such a rebuke as the Brexit vote they still cannot grasp that is even more telling.

        These people are not worthy to govern, a fact they will never comprehend. They’ve been given an object lesson in the dangers of hubris and utterly failed the final exam.

        1. Tsze-kung asked about government. The Master said, “The requisites of government are that there be sufficient food, a good army, and the confidence of the people in their ruler.”
          Tsze-kung said, “If it cannot be helped, and one of these must be dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone first?” “The army,” said the Master.
          Tsze-kung again asked, “If it cannot be helped, and one of the remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should be foregone?” The Master answered, “The food. There have always been war and hunger, but if the people have no faith in their rulers, the state can not stand.”

  22. Oh and I note that young people, who have generally been indoctrinated by their teachers to be Europhiles etc., are really upset about the vote and how they voted heavily to remain but were outvoted by their seniors.

    It is interesting to note that the British youth didn’t vote as heavily as the old farts. The election was, as I noted in the original article, one of the highest turnout ones in recent history, but the age group that turned out least was the youngest one.

    See for some more discussion on the young people thing

  23. The simple fact that there are no plans in place for such a development constitutes a scathing condemnation of the presumed competence of the erstwhile governors. It is the duty of government to have contingency plans for any foreseeable event and numerous unforeseeable ones.

  24. Interesting Parallel:
    “The UK and its former colonies (including 13 revolting former colonies:) ) are amongst the most generous when it comes to charitable giving and volunteering.”
    Look at the pattern of charity in the USA – where is it high? In the places that are Conservative. Where is it low? In the places that are “Liberal”, i.e., that want the Holy Government to do and control everything.

    1. Ah, but liberals are ever so much more generous and charitable.
      They just insist on doing it with other people’s money.

  25. Even if I knew nothing else about the EU, the fact that they made the Irish continue to revote until they got it “right” and joined the EU… that would make me very suspicious.

  26. OT: Sarah, did you get the promo post email? It’s huge this week, and I’d hate for folks to miss out.

  27. I am genuinely surprised that the Leave side won. I would have thought that the Brits were too wedded to Euro-socialism to strike out on their own again, but apparently not.

    1. Apparently not.

      Though since the Brits are, apparently, a net source of EU funds rather than a net sink they might still quite rationally vote “Leave” with hopes of applying ALL the funds previously allocated to the EU within the UK itself.

      As in interested outsider, I always felt that in their place *I* would have voted “Leave” – but was pleasantly surprised when they actually did so. Whether this means that the UK gets less Socialistic (or just Brit-Socialistic rather than Euro-Socialistic) it’s too early to say. If not too early to speculate 😉

    2. It looks like an excellent example of media spin in action. Far from being a handful of Fascist nutters, a majority of Britons were angry enough to go to the polls and cast their vote.

      The EU was a convenience for Britain, not a necessity. The British Commonwealth is still larger than the European Union.

      1. Talk about media spin: The BBC has been in Full Soviet Mourning mode ever since the tally actually was undeniable. The announcers speak in the low voices previously reserved for state funerals of Labor politicians, the reporting is all about who will be harmed by this foul, horrible, mistaken decision by those British – yes, the British Broadcasting Corporation talks about the British vote to exit the EU in third person. The latest I saw tonight was an obviously stage managed on-the-street interview with a pair of young Poles living in London under the open borders rules of the EU, and how they are terrified of being stuffed in cattle cars and run through the Chunnel next week.

        1. Yeah. They’d be making Oswald Mosby comments, except they never heard of him in Butthurt Studies…

    3. What will really be interesting is if Boris Johnson succeeds Cameron. He’s a climate sceptic doncha know.

  28. Best analysis I’ve seen yet.

    As a former Brit (who signed up with the Colonial Rebels(tm) last November) I was very much in favour of getting out of the EU. I voted to get out in 1975 because there was just enough talk about a political and economic union, vs. a free trade agreement, that I was suspicious that it would lead to a loss of sovereignty and a government by unelected bureaucrats.

    I hate it when I’m right. And the fact that it took them 40 years to see how right I was….

    Oh well….

    1. As a non-Brit (though being from the North of Portugal, the possibility of my having no British blood approaches zero) who joined the colonial rebels twenty eight years ago, welcome aboard. We’ll get ‘er done yet.

  29. I am amused that the EU partisans apparently never considered that this day might one day happened. There seems to be the assumption that everyone in Europe would join the EU and then the EU would go on forever and ever. I guess it’s human nature to assume that things will continue as they are, but I’m always tickled that our self-proclaimed progressives can’t conceive that one day progress might leave them and their dreams behind.

    1. “might one day happened”

      Sigh. Tired. I don’t word well when I’m tired.

    2. The officials in Brussels were no doubt blinded by their belief that they could turn themselves into a power that would rival the US.

      1. …with no understanding of said US system at any level past the most superficial “it’s big and powerful” level.

        1. Up to the most blatant fact, that the US remained united only after a humdinger of a war.

          1. And a couple close secession movements before the Civil War. Several not-quite-violent tussles over state boundaries before and after. Several semi-serious attempts by parts of some states to break away from their home state.

  30. Curiously enough, there are sensible English Conservatives who are devastated by this result. They had a vision of a future for themselves and their children which was tied up with increasing European integration and cross-border trade, and had ties to businesses that traded with the EU. One was actually cheered up to learn that his son was eligible for an Irish passport, which is a an awful long way from “To be born an Englishman is to win first prize in God’s lottery.” Hopefully they will soon recognize that what they have gained is the ability to control their own future, and they will prosper if they make good use of that ability.

    1. Why would cross border trade be impaired by lack of political union.
      As someone who grew up in Portugal the PASTEURIZATION of Portugal and the squeeze put on its economy, making it a vast retirement home pisses me off. The Portuguese will never leave, and I no longer have the right to an opinion. But I think conservatives against Brexit are daft and economically ignorant. UNLESS the “bright future for their children” means they and their children are all bureaucrats.

      1. Almost every economist says that unrestricted free trade is a benefit to both sides, since all trades are voluntary on both sides, so we’ve given up modelling people as simple rational human beings now and all predictions are guesses, but… The theory is that the EU will raise tariff barriers against the UK both to punish it for leaving and because that is what the old theories of mercantilism and cartel-building say is good strategy. The fact that this would harm the EU at least as much as it would harm the UK is reflected in the fact that the EU’s credit is suffering just as much as the UK’s. Also the “EU as a free trade area” line has always been the bait with which the “ever closer union” types wished to catch the support of pragmatic business types and now the main home of pragmatic business types has left there is no reason for the “ever closer union” types (who were typically also dirigiste fans of big government to whom the ability to tax was just another way to exert government power) to keep dangling the bait of “free trade area”.

        1. What gets labelled “Unrestricted Free Trade” and what actually constitute unrestricted free trade often lack 1:1 correspondence.

          There are many covert methods of regulating trade, as various vested Eurostate interests have known. Regulations governing labeling, contents and production methods are just a few such methods.

    2. I was startled recently to see a (relatively) politically conservative French acquaintance declare everyone doomed and a commenter claim to be left-wing enough to understand some of the Leave voters’ fears.

  31. As somebody who lives in Belgium, I am somewhat saddened by the loss of a major part of the EU.( the UK is the fourth major receiver of export of our products).
    I can understand some parts of the exit campaign. When the UK joined the EU it wasnt even called the EU but the EEG.
    Other parts of the campaign i have more difficulty in understanding.
    Having said this the most sane course of action the EU can do now is:

    1)Accept the simple fact that we couldn’t sell the idea of the EU to the majority of the British citizens. Do not make this a story about old vs young, smart vs stupid, racist vs non-racists, Scots vs everybody else.
    The EU could not sell itself to the majority of citizens. Accept this and move one.

    2)Stay well out of the whole Scotland/ Northern Ireland-independence. This is now an internal UK thing. The last time the EU went and mucked about with the internal politics of one of our neighbours we ended up with a civil war in the Ukraine.

    3)Get a treaty asap with the UK-goverment regarding trade. This is one of the strangest things i have been reading for the last few days. People are telling us that if the UK wants access to the market of the EU it needs to accept ALL the rules of the EU. When we accept chinese steel products we certainly do not ask ourselves if China follows all the rules of the EU.
    We need the UK-trade in its goods, services and people as much as they need ours.
    And if your logic is based on the idea of the UK should be punished for leaving the EU, ask yourself this question:

    What do you call a relationship that persists because one part threatens the other part with punishment if they ask to end it?

    4)The EU also needs to do some soul-searching about what we are and what we want. This is of course our internal matter, in the same way the second amendement and its discussion is a internal matter of the USA and its citizens.

    A part of the communist-socialist-hive-mind of the EU
    Glory to Arstozka

    1. “What do you call a relationship that persists because one part threatens the other part with punishment if they ask to end it?”

      An abusive one.

    2. The last time the EU went and mucked about with the internal politics of one of our neighbours we ended up with a civil war in the Ukraine.

      In fact when I met the academics I mentioned who wanted to vote leave (I’m not going to be specific because the event was private), one of the academics who was most forceful about Leaving was a political scientist specializing in eastern Europe and his comments on the EU in Ukraine were blistering. If there hadn’t been a former senior member of the Church of England two seats to my left (he was on my right), I suspect he’d have been stiffing and blinding like a docker

      He also pointed out that the EU has much prior history in this regard. Long before Ukraine it fucked up the Yugoslavian breakup and the EU loved the idea of “the Arab spring” and provided lots of support for revolutionaries in many countries. And then let them all wither when the Islamists showed up. While they certainly had help from Obama and Clinton the EU was complicit in the disasters of Syria and Libya and not helpful in Egypt and Tunisia

      What do you call a relationship that persists because one part threatens the other part with punishment if they ask to end it?

      When I was writing the post for quite a time there was a segment in it comparing the Uk/EU relationship as that of an abused spouse. It broke the flow and didn’t add so much so I removed it, but it is a very easy comparison to make, which suggests there’s quite a lot of truth in the matter.

      The EU also needs to do some soul-searching about what we are and what we want.

      I agree it needs to do so. I fear that the leadership really isn’t up to the task. That’s why I predict a lot more trouble in Europe.

      I note that I didn’t discuss the likely fate of Belgium. It does occur to me that if the UK manages to revitalize EFTA and perhaps entice would-be nations like Catalonia to join (as Xavier Basora suggests above) then another obvious new nation would be Flanders. God knows how the EU would cope with its capital city surrounded by a non-member nation but it would be interesting

      1. The fate of Belgium.
        To put it mildly, the chance for an independant Flanders has become pretty non-existent in the short and mid-long term, Brussels and Wallonie with all its warts and better places is part of us as we are part of them.
        I can almost garantee that if a referendum is held in Belgium the majority would want to stay as one country inside the EU.

        Please also remember that i do not consider the Uk/EU relationship as that of an abusive one.
        The problem is one of perception and future possibilities. The UK wants to leave, accept this and move on.
        Make a deal not in anger or spite, but out of necessity. The UK will lose some part of access to the internal market of the EU, be it through use of tarifs or basic ruleschanges. The question is how much and when.
        So with much irony it seems the EU has appointed a negociator in the form of White Male Diplomat Didier Seeuws.

        Cooler heads need to prevail here if the EU wants to survive, so it would be nice if “The End Times” drama was put in the freezer.

        1. You might not consider the relationship abusive but enough Englishmen did. What they found abusive, I think, was the regulations coming from unaccountable bureaucrats and the massive immigration being pushed by the EU with no apparent concern for the people of the communities that are basically forced to accept said immigrants.

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  33. You are correct the elites are hateful and detest the common people. They are also spiteful. Therefore I expect them to punish the people even if it hurts them to do so.
    Just like the US closed down public monuments and parks when the government shut down, when erecting barricades and guarding them probably cost more than keeping them open, I expect the British government to do stupid petty things and then like an abusive spouse say: “Oh look! See what you made me do!”
    See if they don’t Monday. Shut down travel or commerce to make their dire predictions come true.
    Then they won’t understand why the game playing pisses people off.

  34. Looking at a column from NY Post business columnist John Crudele, this caught my attentionLeaving the EU has been given the clever name “Brexit.” And you always need a clever name if you want people to pay attention to something this exceptionally boring.

    Staying in the European Union needs a catchy name, too. Some have called it Bremain, as in the BRitish should rEMAIN economically tied to the mishmash of faltering countries like Greece, Spain and Italy, where socialism is eating up those nations’ cultural and business fabric.

    as pointing out the fundamental problem with the European Union.

    Quite simply, different socio-economic polities cannot be bound together for any length of time. We see the same problem at the UN where democratically elected governments are treated as equals to monarchies and oligarchies. Unequally yoked relationships are incapable of prospering and always result in damage to one or both parties.

    Socialist polities are inherently parasitic and capable of survival only to the extent the socialists are kept weak. The EU encouraged corrupt socialist (but I repeat myself) systems to leech the vitality of healthier members, ensuring that the inevitable collapse would be all the worst for being long delayed.

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